Following your dreams is what we all dream of. It all begins when people ask us what we want to be when we grow up. But while we are taught to dream as children, we aren’t encouraged to do that as adults. We also aren’t always given the tools to turn any dreams we do have into reality. This leads us to go for the road more traveled, the trail that has already been blazed, the safe route. What would you do if you could make your professional dream(s) come true?
We want you to go for your dreams. Or at least try. And we want to give you some tips as to how to do it. Making your sueño a reality seems scary at times, but once you realize achieving anything is really about taking a dream and bringing it to life with a solid plan comprised of doable steps, it all seems less daunting. The biggest thing is getting out of your own way and believing in yourself, your dream, and your talent. So, here are 30 ways you can finally start going after your dream(s).
Believe in Yourself and Your Dream
Like we briefly mentioned, it’s important to really believe in yourself and your dream. What we gravitate towards and are good at isn’t a coincidence. It’s part of our purpose. What do you really want to do with your life? It’s never too late to really think about this and start making the changes needed to get there.
Visualize What Success Looks Like To You
Whether or not you believe in the power of manifestation, visualizing yourself living out your dream helps you to understand what it looks like to you, which then allows you to start putting together your plan on how to achieve it. It makes it closer to reality, even if it seems like you’re daydreaming. Visualizing what you want and how to get it allows you to start looking at it more seriously. It gives you that permission.
Lean on Your Faith
Whatever your faith, leaning into it when it’s time to make a big life change can provide you with some clarity, comfort, and motivation. If you believe that God gives you a talent, a path, and a calling and/or purpose, then your dreams don’t seem so flighty — they seem like your destiny. And it’s also about having faith in yourself, your ability, and your worthiness. Sí, se puede, m’ijas!
Make Sure It’s Something You Really Want
It’s important to really analyze our dreams because they may not seem so shiny and sparkly in real life. There are many career dreams that you might have wanted to achieve and did and then later realized they weren’t for you. It’s one thing to imagine it, then another to really look into it and even pursue it. Either way, you owe it to yourself to see if your dreams have any real life staying power. If they don’t, you can finally move on to something else!
Start Telling Others
While you don’t have to go around bragging that you’ll be the first billionaire in your family, you can start talking about seriously pursuing your dreams. Saying it out loud, to others, makes you more accountable for making it happen, and makes it more real to you, and everyone else. Of course, tell those you confide in, those who won’t try to belittle your dreams and derail your momentum. Or tell those people, and prove them wrong.
Start Setting Realistic Goals, with a Step by Step Plan
This is such an important step. Your dreams will forever float somewhere above your head, and reality, unless you bring them down to reality with a plan. You have to treat it just as real and serious as the job you have now. This means writing down goals, and breaking those down into doable steps, with deadlines. Following your dream often means being your own boss — it’s time to start acting like one.
Get a Mentor
Talking to and learning from someone who is where you want to be someday, makes your dreams seem way more attainable. You can benefit from their trials and errors and all the lessons they learned getting to where they are today. This is real life knowledge and wisdom you often can’t get out of books and the internet. This is why it’s imperative to network, attend industry events, and reach out to those you admire for guidance — you can gain an invaluable mentor who can change your whole professional life!
Research Your New Career
If you want to work in your dream industry and have that dream career, you have to learn about what that entails, no? Research! Read books, blogs, visit forums, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos, documentaries, and anything else that will fully inform you on what your dream looks like and what the recommended steps are to achieve it.
Rework Your Budget to Accommodate Your Dream(s)
Following your dreams may mean switching jobs, quitting a job, selling your house, moving, and all sorts of other major life changes. To make your dream a reality, you have to take a good look at your finances. You will probably have to rework and live by your new budget so that you don’t have to give up on your goals, just because you didn’t factor your finances into the equation.
Get an Internship
You may not be in school anymore, but internships are often the best way to get invaluable on-the-job training and experience. And you can get your foot in the door, without having to give up all your income and time. Thankfully, there are paid internships (Facebook pays a medium of $8000 a month!), and many can be flexible with your existing schedule.
Surround Yourself With Positive and Inspiring Words
Taking a step in a whole new direction is scary — that’s why so many people avoid it altogether. A lot of people can’t get past their own inner voice telling them that they can’t do it. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with positive, encouraging, and uplifting words, especially from people who have stood where you are standing now and found the courage and confidence to take that first step forward.
Understand It’s Not Going to Happen Overnight
Okay, you’re ready to be a success, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be an overnight success. Even those people who are dubbed so have been toiling for years to make their achievements and accomplishments look instantaneous. With everything you’ve done in life, following your dreams requires important steps you must take.
Fine Tune Your Dream and What You Are Offering, but Think Big
This next tip is really a three-part piece of advice. First, you have to take your dream and fine tune it into something that makes sense, is feasible, and really speaks to your talent and who you are. Next, you want to be able to explain what it is that you are offering to the world — what your talent is, the function your business is serving, and what you are offering that no one else is. Even if you are doing something others are doing, they aren’t you and don’t have your unique perspective. Thirdly, think big! You have to plan and think ahead in order to get to that place, so don’t limit yourself to small thinking.
Can You Quit Your Current Job or Go Part-Time?
When you really start to break down following your dreams into steps, you will assess whether or not it’s feasible to change jobs, quit your job, reduce your hours to part-time, or get a PT job. Looking at your savings; talking to a trusted friend, family member, and/or financial advisor; and weighing the pros and cons of each scenario (make a list!) will help you balance risk versus reward.
Reassess and Readjust Your Priorities
Following your dreams means that you are really going to assess your priorities and stick to them. You’re going to be saving money when everyone else is going to want to spend. You are going to be working hard, while your friends party. You are going to focus all your attention on what’s really important, and save the extra stuff for later. No one said following your dream(s) is easy, but they do say it’s worth it.
Check and Work On Your Credit
While you should focus on saving money so you have more options when it comes to following your dreams, you should also check in on the status of your credit. Work on paying off any debts you may have, so you will have fewer bills to worry about (should you have to earn less for now) and so your credit score will go up. This will facilitate getting any business loans you may need (a storefront, equipment, etc.) that will make your dreams a reality quicker.
Network Within Your New Industry
Networking is important for any career path. This is where you will meet people who you can collaborate with, who inspire you, who will show you the ropes and connect you with others in the same field. There are several events that not only provide the opportunity to schmooze with your professional peer group, but will also teach you more about your field via lectures, workshops, panels, and more.
Throw the Glamour Out the Window
The thing about dreams is that they are encased in a hazy, beautiful, idealistic glow that makes everything always look easy and never like actual work. Even if you are in a relatively glamorous field, such as beauty or fashion, you still have to work. A lot. Even more so than taking a job that hands everything to you. You are blazing your path, opening doors, and creating your career. Your hours will be much longer, your stress levels will rise to unprecedented levels, and you’ll often wonder if it’s all worth it. Trust me, it is. Keep going — you got this.
Work Harder Than Anyone Else
So, now that you know you’re going to have to work your ass off, in general, to make your dreams come true, let’s reiterate that whole sentiment. You’ll have to work and work even harder than those in your field. You will have to keep going when you want to quit, past your tiredness and doubt, and keep your eyes on the prize. Your competition often wants you to fail — don’t give them that satisfaction. You have a dream to go after, and dreams aren’t just handed to people —they work for them, all day, every day!
Know It’s OK If No One Understands What You’re Doing
If you are a creative person, explaining your art and your need to make things and express yourself can sound like a foreign language to a lot of people. And that’s ok. What’s for you doesn’t need to be understood by everyone. You may find the need to convince others, especially your family and friends, of the validity of your dream. They may not get it, and that’s fine. Just work hard, succeed, and show them the end product.
Update Your LinkedIn and Resume
As boring as this sounds, and as little as you want to do this, it is imperative that you update your LinkedIn and resume. This is where you are letting potential employers in your new field know how qualified and how much of an asset you will be to their company! For resumes, it will really help to tweak each one for the job you are applying for and don’t be lazy about cover letters! Some companies won’t even take you seriously without one.
Your Social Media Posts Should Reflect Your Dream/Intended Career
One thing we can give millennials credit for is that they are confident. They have created paths that didn’t exist before, using what resources they had. Older generations can take some notes and learn from them on this. Take social media, for instance. People will put in their bio who they already see themselves as and will post accordingly. Aspiring MUAs will post makeup looks on themselves, fashion bloggers and stylists will post outfits, and singers will share covers of songs, as well as original compositions. File this under faking it until you make it, or just showing the world what you’ve got.
Practice Self-Care and Be Easy On Yourself
You do have to work hard to follow and achieve your dreams, but you don’t have to run yourself into the ground. Self-care is so important all the time, but especially when you are putting yourself out there and working harder than ever. This means mental, spiritual, and physical self-care. Among those important priorities, we mentioned earlier should be yourself. Take good care of your health, schedule in some downtime, and be kind to yourself.
Keep Super Organized
I believe you can achieve anything if you’re organized enough (as well as the opposite). You are charting new territory and can be creating something totally new. While working within what works best for you, think about having some essentials a la mano, like a dry-erase calendar, dry-erase board for ideas, notebooks, apps that will help you with reminders and staying on task, filing equipment for your papers, etc.
Have Someone You Check In With to Keep Yourself Accountable
Be it a mentor, a family member or friend, or all of the above, it’s always good to check in with someone regarding your process when it comes to following your dreams. We can get distracted, down on ourselves, and overwhelmed, so having a person (or people) you trust to hear you out, offer advice, and keep you on track is essential. It’s also a good opportunity for you to be this person for them should they need it!
While you will quickly learn that following your dreams requires a whole lotta work, you also need to have fun in the process. If not, then what’s the point?! The idea is to do what you love and what you are called to do. There is so much happiness in that, so tap into that as much as possible. It makes the hard work part so much easier.
Success is an umbrella under which a lot of smaller successes have occurred. You can’t just achieve something, like get a sale, or release a popular song and then stop (well you can, but do you want to?). No, you have to keep going, keep putting out excellence, and keep winning. Be consistent, because if you stop and go, you will make things harder for yourself and your momentum.
Treat Your Time Like Gold
Once you have your priorities straight, and once you realize free time sounds more and more like a dream itself, you will start treating your time like gold. You need your work time, your rest time, and your fun time, so plan accordingly and really make each moment count!
Never Give Up
If you really want to follow your dream, never give up. Try the best you can, and don’t be afraid of rejection. Some of the most successful people of all time were rejected, sometimes so many times that they could have quit at any time. But they didn’t. Remember we said not everyone is going to get you and what you’re doing? That doesn’t mean you should quit either. At least give your dream the real try it deserves.
But Be Realistic
You only really fail if you quit before you ever try. Some people are so talented and have such an obvious calling, but are too afraid to even try going after it. If you tried, you already won. But you also have to know when to switch courses and say you tried, but it’s time to move on. And that’s okay and part of life. But you will always know that you went after your dreams and that is such an achievement and accomplishment in itself.